Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Allusion Activity

  • 8 pages
  • Subject: Allusion, Lesson Plans and Educational Resources
  • Common Core Standards: RL.11-12.4, RL.9-10.1, RL.9-10.4, RL.9-10.9

Additional Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard Resources

Product Description

Thomas Gray (1716–1771) began to write “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” in 1742 after the death of a close friend, and published the poem in 1751. As the title suggests, the poem is a meditation on mortality; the speaker considers the lives of those buried at a graveyard—mostly farmers and rural people who led simple lives. In his contemplations on death, mortality, and virtue, Gray alludes to political and literary figures from English history, contrasting their grandeur and fame to the obscurity of those in the grave.

Skills: analysis, drawing inferences from text, close reading, identifying the relationship between words

About This Document

The Owl Eyes Allusions activity gives students an opportunity to practice identifying and analyzing allusions. Allusions broaden the scope of a text and imbue passages of the text with deeper meaning by subtly drawing on literature, history, science, geography, philosophy, mythology, or other cultural sources. The main components of this activity include the following:

  • A contextualized paragraph of the text
  • A handout defining “allusion” with examples from classic works
  • A list of tips for spotting allusions
  • A step-by-step guide to activity procedure
  • An example answer

In completing this activity, students will be able to identify, analyze, and interpret allusions, thereby accessing deeper meanings within the text.